Joaquim Rocha
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    Joaquim Rocha
  • Principal Software Engineering Manager at Microsoft

Me and my girlfriend spent the last week in London where we stood in Igalia’s amazing flat.

I had only been to London once, about 14 years ago, I was 10 years old, in a high-school trip. Of course, things now seemed much different.

Coming from a small town and living in a small city, I was amazed by the number of people everywhere. It just seemed to much people, in the streets (okay, the main ones), in the subway, etc.

I was also expecting things to be more expensive, maybe because of the GB pound devaluation… This led me to spend some money on books. I love books and I (usually) hate translations. Maybe some publishers are trying to save some money by hiring cheap translators because some of the books I got in Portuguese have some really lame translations. I mean, I’m not expecting every translator to be an expert on the various subjects a book talks about but I expect at least some research of what some terms and expressions mean. That’s why, when possible (when I can read them), I prefer books in their original language.

I think that in a week, we could try very different things in London. We went to museums like the Science Museum, the Britain at War Experience and Natural History Museum; we went to Notting Hill; and we even got stuck in the subway due to the closing of the central line because of the amount of people. Though, what I liked most was Camden Town and it’s really cool markets and shops where I bought a few t-shirts. The stables market was amazing!

Another thing a small city boy like me noticed was the pollution, just like every time I go to Lisbon, by night at home you get the difference, in the skin, in the nose, etc. I am really glad that in A Coruña you don’t have such problem (I also didn’t notice it in Brussels).

I also loved to be a in a foreign country and understand what everyone is saying (well, I guess I am not considering my *not home country* of Spain to be a foreign one anymore) as the last countries I have been to are Belgium and The Netherlands.

About the food… we all know that the UK is not the country you go for gastronomy but I loved the cheap and huge English breakfasts.

Now don’t get me wrong but I was expecting my British fellows to be a lot more, how should I put it, snobbish. Yet, every person we asked for directions was really kind, British or not (except for a few suits that might have thought I was selling something when I wanted to know where the hell was HMS Belfast).

So, conclusions about London now that I am not 10 anymore: It is a wonderful city and I am looking forward to go back visiting it but the rush of things in there, the number of people, the amount of time lost in the bus or the tube, etc. makes me like more a city like A Coruña to live in. Yes, I would prefer *much more* to live in London than in Lisbon for example, but some things are best taken slowly, and life is one of them.